movie: The Angels’ Share

I’m not a big fan of Ken Loach style ‘social drama’ but with this movie, as the Independent review said “There is violence and deprivation but, for once, Loach provides a way out.”  The plot (and no spoilers will happen in this review) revolves around Robbie, who narrowly escapes jail because he is about to become a father and instead is given community service.  However Robbie’s resolution to turn his life around for the sake of his son isn’t easy when his partner’s father is a hard man who doesn’t want him around and that isn’t the only person literally after his blood.

Robbie is helped out by a Whisky loving social worker (excellently played by John Henshaw) who gives him a chance and introduces him to the world of Whiskey tasting.  From there the question is whether Robbie and his palls can find an escape from their circumstances.

Loach is quoted as saying there is a serious subtext to the film “At a time when youth unemployment has reached record levels, youngsters such as Robbie are being written off.”  However the subtext that struck me much more was the social division within different areas of Glasgow that was shown when Robbie and his girlfriend are offered a flat in the West End which is ‘a million miles away’ from the crashing with mates that he has been doing up till then.

But cinema is about entertainment and this movie had more laughs than shocks.  The Angel’s Share is being compared with classic Ealing Comedies such as Whiskey Galore, the Ladykillers and the Lavender Hill Mob and I really think this is one that will stand the test of time and be a pleasure to watch again and again.  There are some scenes of violence near the begining and a lot of swearing (certificate 15 is a bit surprising IMHO), but the clever story, slapstick humour and heartwarming comradeship shines through and makes this a very special story.

I’m not sure I’ve said this before about any film, but I kind of hope there is a sequel because I want to know what happens to these characters.

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